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Constipation can be caused by many factors:

  1. Change in routine, or reduced activity (eg travel)
  2. Diet: Low water or fibre intake
  3. Medications (eg certain pain meds, anti-depressants, diuretics)
  4. Medical Conditions (eg IBS, bowel cancers, hypothyroidism, Parkinsons)

It is very common – 1 in 7 Australians report symptoms – especially Women and the Elderly.

Constipation symptoms can include:

– Lumpy or hard stools (poo)

– Feeling bowels not completely emptied

– Straining to pass a bowel motion 

– Manipulating your body position to try and pass a bowel motion.

– Having fewer than three bowel motions per week.

Management:

  • Medication is required at times, especially if medications are causing constipation. Opt for osmotic laxatives (eg Movicol)
  • Obey the Urge! When you feel the need to move your bowels – do it, don’t wait, it will harden bowels further.
  • Two litres of FLUID daily.  (can use tea, coffee, water, juice). Urine should be colour of straw. Drink Throughout the day.
  • Include 2-3 x Kiwi Fruit daily
  • Include 50-100grams of prunes daily (5-10 prunes)
  • Add 1 Tbspn of Psyllium husks in the morning.  (or add to yoghurt or juice or stewed fruit)
  • Cooked vegetables have more fibre than Salads – utilise slow cookers, roast vegetables, stir fries, curries, soups with plenty of vegetables.
  • Weight bearing activity every day, think walking, skipping, jogging, aerobics…

NB.  Changes must be gradual and slow.

Up to 75% of people with IBS – C (constipation predominant) or idiopathic constipation will find FODMAPS management beneficial. 

  • At minimum – avoid legumes, wheat, onions.

If you don’t like kiwi: try artichoke, shallots/leeks/onions, beetroot, brussels sprouts, white peaches, nectarines and melons.

If you don’t like prunes: try apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums and sugar free chewing gum/lollies.

Sources

  1. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0716p10.shtml
  2. https://dietitianconnection.com/news/clinical/foods-to-eat-to-prevent-constipation/
  3. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/nutrition/patients

Peter St Henry

www.healthdivine.com.au